Half of Chhattisgarh’s diamond belt in Maoist strongholds (Lead)

August 2nd, 2010 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, Aug 2 (IANS) Diamond reserves could be present in eight belts in Chhattisgarh, half of which are in Maoist strongholds, Chief Minister Raman Singh said Monday.
“A total eight belts have been listed as having possible reserves of kimberlite that contains diamonds,” Singh informed the assembly in a written reply to Congress member and former chief minister Ajit Jogi.

Singh said that districts of Bijapur, Dantewada, Bastar, Kanker and Narayanpur were among the list of possible diamond rich areas.

These five districts form a sprawling 40,000 sq km Maoist stronghold since late 1980s.

Police claim that up to 25,000 sq km area is intensively mined by Maoists and rebels run a parallel government in hundreds of villages of these districts with their hideouts ringed by land mines.

The chief minister said that Chhota Dongar belt in Bastar, Narayanpur and Bijapur districts was among the eight listed for possible diamond reserves.

The others are Tokapal belt in Bastar, Dantewada and Bijapur, Narayanpur-Lanjor belt in Kanker, Bastar, Narayanpur districts, Kanker-Keshkal belt in Kanker, Durg, Dhamtari and Bastar districts, Behradih belt in Raipur and Dhamtari districts, Pithora in Mahasamund and Raipur districts, Sarangarh belt in Raigarh, Janjgir, Mahasamund and Raipur districts and Eib-Maini belt in Jashpur, Raigarh and Surguja districts.

Singh told the house that the state has a confirmed deposit of diamonds at Pailikhand in Gariaband area in Raipur district and a local forest management committee and forest guards were looking after the security of the deposits.

He informed that the confirmed diamond rich site has been fenced and government was taking actions against complaints received about illegal diamond mining.

State’s Bharatiya Janata Party government is facing criticism for its controversial decision to recall police force from the site in July this year.

The Congress alleged the state government has left the 18-hectare high-quality diamond site for Maoists who have consolidated their base in and around the Pailikhand area since recall of police force.

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